Saturday, November 20, 2010

Please and Thank You

by Tim Howard

Growing up, I remember my parents always celebrating Thanksgiving Day by inviting family and friends to a common meal with all the traditional items plus a whole lot more. I never cared for the turnip or squash but my mother had rules and one of them required every child to try a bite of every item. If you didn’t obey, you didn’t get dessert. At the time I felt this was child cruelty but regardless of my twisted thoughts, I followed her orders. And by the way, the dessert was worth it! Even though I disliked certain things about the meal, the yearly celebration was a highlight for everyone and the month of November still brings back fond memories.

The concept of thanksgiving, however, was something our family taught year round. It wasn’t relegated to a once a year event. As soon as we were old enough to speak, our parents saw fit to teach us two words that are still a part of my vocabulary. ‘Please and Thanks.’ It’s amazing to see how quickly things change when these two words are not activated on a regular basis.

A simple request for someone to “Please pass the turkey” can change into a demand when you remove the word ‘Please.’ When the word ‘Thanks’ or ‘Thank You’ is removed from our conversation people feel less appreciated and taken advantage of. We also plant seeds that grow an attitude of ungratefulness. Romans 1:21 reveals what happens when people fail to give thanks: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their views of life, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Giving thanks will guard you from a spirit of entitlement and help you to stop taking things for granted. Giving thanks will cause a demanding spirit to leave and help you see life with a new perspective. Giving thanks will cause people to appreciate in value rather than depreciate. Maybe that’s why the Bible is full of scriptures like Psalms 107:1 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord....”

Thankful people are fun to be with! They bring a fresh perspective because they focus on what they have and don’t worry about the things they have yet to obtain. They bring joy because they choose to fill their mouths with praise rather than complaints. They create an atmosphere of levity because they accentuate the positive. A thankful heart expressed through thankful words and demonstrated with acts of love will change the atmosphere around you. Just like a thermostat that changes the climate in your home, a grateful person will influence others for the good.

Our country has set aside one day a year to remind us of the importance of thanksgiving. I personally think we should be thankful 365 days a year but THANK GOD we at least have one day still on the calendar as a reminder.

As I approach Thanksgiving Day scheduled for November 25, I’m going to invite family and friends to enjoy a common meal with all the traditional items plus a whole lot more. I won’t require every person to try a bite of every item but I will ask every person to give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His loving-kindness never ends. (Psalms 136:1) As you celebrate, don’t forget to give thanks to God and others. And btw… don’t forget to say please!

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